The First Star UCLA Bruin Guardian Scholars Academy (“BGSA”) serves as the pilot program for the First Star Academy model when it launched in 2011 as a partnership between First Star, UCLA, and the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services.
Los Angeles has the largest population of foster youth in the country with over 22,000 youth in care. BGSA aims to provide youth in foster care with the support and advocacy needed to ensure they reach their full academic potential. BGSA is a four year program that offers academic case management to ensure grade progression. Students participate in an annual comprehensive summer immersion program where they spend 3-4 weeks on the UCLA Campus, where they participate in academic courses, credit recovery, and life skills workshops. During the school year, students attend monthly Saturday Academies to continue to support their academic and interpersonal growth.
Monthly Saturday academies are orchestrated to focus on five core program areas that create the academy curriculum. These core program areas include College Prep, Career Exploration, Wellness, Social Justice and Leadership, and Life Skills.
Despite the many challenges youth in foster care may face, BGSA provides the individual support and educational advocacy to ensure they graduate high school and pursue higher education.
If you would like to learn more about First Star, please visit their website.